Aakar Patel does an excellent appraisal of Lalchand Kishinchand Advani in Mint, the business daily owned by the Hindustan Times group, on the basis of his memoir:
“If Advani has such a poor record on security [on Kandahar, Kargil and Gujarat], why do his supporters refer to him as strong? Sadly, this image comes from his willingness to do violence to India’s Muslims.
“Having had only eight years of executive experience, the same as the average 32-year-old, Advani has no long view. He does not understand strategy.
“He thumps his chest and warns Pakistan to behave after taking India nuclear, but is taken aback when Pakistan’s generals immediately use this as an excuse to weaponize their own programme. This has destabilized South Asia for generations.
“He opposes the Indo-US nuclear deal. Why? Because America does not treat India as “equals”. He views strategic policy through honour and emotion.
“Of his autobiography’s 48 chapters, not one is on economics. Muslims, Kashmir, terrorism, Pakistan, Musharraf, Kargil, Shah Bano, Naxalism, Godhra, Assam, Ayodhya. These are his concerns. His passion is all about what other people should not do.
“Under Advani, the BJP’s three policy thrusts were all negative: Muslims should not keep Babri Masjid; Muslims should not have polygamy; Kashmir should not have special status.
“He offers nothing creative, even to Hindus, only resentment….
“At the G-20 this month, London’s Financial Times put Manmohan Singh on its masthead next to Barack Obama and sent three editors to interview him. All Indians who are ashamed of the quality of our leaders must try to read this interview: www.ft.com/indepth/g20.
“First question: Do you agree with China on the failures of the global monetary regime and the case for a new reserve asset in place of the dollar?
“It’s not the question they would ask of Advani.”
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